A Conversation with Laura Genao & Veronica Gutierrez
Laura and Veronica (Lauronica to their friends) met in 2003. The Bell and Boyle Heights couple bonded over their love of mentoring, sports, literature, social justice, and mixing and pouring cocktails. This led to the creation of Mixology on a Mission, the couple’s philanthropic effort which provides a venue, food, drink and entertainment via cocktail lessons for local nonprofits.
We’re often told that if we can find our passion and put it to good work, our lives will be full of fun and bliss. Well, I think Veronica and Laura have found that powerful mix. “We like making cocktails, watching football, and supporting good causes,” according to Veronica. The combination of a fantasy football league of women gathered at their home, the installation of full bar, and a history of activism have led Laura and Veronica to open their home to a small group of community-based nonprofits to help them grow their donor base.
Laura and Veronica have been involved in their communities since their youth. They know that to create change they have to put in the work. And change is what they are about. As they open their home to people and movements, they support community transformation. And, wonderfully, they do this by sharing their bartending skills!
Veronica grew up in a forward-leaning activist family. Her mom, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez, was a cofounder of Mothers of East L.A., a grassroots group among the pioneers in the environmental justice movement. Laura’s mom, Leonor Rodriguez, focused on their local school and encouraged Laura and her sister to help fellow students who were struggling in the classroom. Their home became a “tutor house” and the result was that both Laura and her sister initially became teachers after college.
This desire to support causes important to them continues in adulthood with a variety of volunteer endeavors and, of course, donations to their favorite causes. Now this support plays out through their passion for creating and pouring drinks. They first decided to host an event highlighting their mixology skills and providing a venue for existing and new donors of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and for Veronica’s hairstylist’s nonprofit, Project Q, an organization supporting queer homeless youth. I had the opportunity to meet them for an event for BloomAgain, which supports women balancing work and home while recovering from major illness.
Both Laura and Veronica love that they can open their home as “the clubhouse, the dorm room, the gathering spot” for their friends and their friends’ friends. In addition to creating a convenient space for nonprofits to expand their work and their donors, these events provide a collective opportunity for Laura and Veronica to support philanthropy, practice their activism, and facilitate new alliances. What they love the most is people connecting over a cause or something they value: “to be inspired by someone they may have otherwise never had the opportunity to meet.”
Photo courtesy Mixology on a Mission.